Play some games

A while back I came across –  a collection of physics-based games. The downfall? You need to watch a short commercial clip before accessing the game, which may be enough to turn away some people. My favourite on this site is Fantastic Contraption, which I have used in the classroom for a few years, and my students love it.

I have not explored all of the games, but I have played quite a few of them. Given the chance, I could probably play Colour World for a few hours (whether that is good or bad, I am not quite sure….).  I seemed very ineffective as a truck driver transporting animals in Zoo Transport, but I feel that I need to improve, as I have done harm to too many monkeys and turtles in this game.  I also enjoy testing my abilities in the Magic Pen game, and I think I will introduce this one to my students this year. 

If you have some good links for fun games such as these, I would love to hear about them.
Have a great week.

Posted by admin in General Science, Using Tech, 0 comments

Games for Learning…Part II

I was going to write about something completely different today, an ecogame website. However, every time that I have tried to access it recently, my virus protection program pops up to tell me that there are Trojan horses associated with the site. And so I will leave well enough alone.

Instead, I will go back to my tried and true favourites. Back in October I mentioned an online game called Fantastic Contraption.  It is a game where you have to build a contraption out of wheels, sticks, and water in order to get a pink ball into a goal zone. Apparently there is now a second version of this game, Fantastic Contraption 2, with new levels and challenges to solve.

The other game that I love is called Launchball. In this game, the task is also to get a ball into the goal zone. This time, though, it is done through creating machines that are all energy based. Players need to use electromagnets, solar cells, battery packs, fans, and various other energy systems to create a machine that will move the ball into the “endzone”.

I introduced both of these games to my students at the beginning of our systems unit, so that they could have a fun way to consider inputs and outputs and how combinations of items can work to an advantage or disadvantage. The students were hooked. After having a few days to explore, they were eager to share their designs with their peers. (Both games allow the user to save designs.) The students were all excited to see what others had created. After playing both games, many students came away with a favourite of the two, and that choice differed among students. I, too, have a favourite. Do you?

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Games for Learning…Part I

Last year we took our students to spend a day outdoors, and it was right around Earth day. There were to be a series of activities for them to rotate through, and I was to facilitate one of the stations. I wanted something that was “Earth Day” related, and I wanted something that they would enjoy doing. I didn’t want to preach to them, rather I wanted them to understand that actions in the “real” world, and thus in their world, have a large impact on the sustainability of our environment. I started combing the internet for eco-games, and after a long search I found this gem of a website. It combined all of the elements that I was looking for; a little math, a little science, and a focus on the impact of our decisions.

There are three board games that are shared on the Business Behind the Scenes site. They are Monopoly style games, complete with game boards and chance cards to download.  Each game focuses on a different industry – The Clean Scene looks at dry cleaning, The Fine Print looks at the world of printing, and Rev it Up! looks at an auto service shop. In each game, the students compare the advantages and disadvantages of eco-friendly methods versus the old standbys. Students must begin by setting up a business and making initial decisions as to how eco-friendly their business will be, taking into account the related start-up costs. They then travel through a series of scenarios, each affecting their business in a positive or negative way, depending on the initial decisions made. Throughout the game they must keep track of their profits and losses, and at the end determine how successful their business choices were. It is a great lesson in budgeting and, more importantly, students learn that each and every choice made in the world around them should be made with care.

 A fine lesson for one and all.

Posted by admin in General Education, General Science, Math, 0 comments